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How did the month of May get here so fast?

No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.

My website has been having major problems, and I was having a difficult time getting in touch with my web people. There were (and still are a few) some glitches that made it plain ugly, so I was reluctant to post content that brought people to an unprofessional looking page.

Alas, in the meantime, I got behind on my Brilliant Blog Awards!

So here they are for the months of February, March and April:

February:

Kristen

Kristen Lamb’s Blog. This is my go-to blog for writing. I always read this one. Kristen is a machine. She writes meaningful, useful content and lots of it. I’m always learning from her!

March:

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People of One Fire. This is one of my favorite blogs, if not my very favorite, on Native American and Ancient American culture, architecture, and history. The copious amounts of information constantly blows my mind. How do people find time to write that much on one blog? It’s incredible!

April:

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Elaine Stock’s Everyone’s Story. I admire Elaine’s work ethic when it comes to blogging. She’s consistent, hardworking, and loves to promote other authors. Her blog’s new makeover is a treat for the eyes. And the content is fantastic. I’m so excited that she won this award!

So, there you go! Better late than never, I always say. <sigh> I’ll do better. I promise.

Whose blogs do you love the most? Let me know in the comments below! And stay tuned for May’s pick!

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Please tweet: Congratulations to Elaine Stock and Kristen Lamb for winning the Brilliant Blog Award!

 

 

When history is creepy

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I have spent most of my day today re-researching material for my work in progress.

I lost all my notes after vacation. Printed notes. Handwritten notes.

Not good. Not good at all.

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I lost my timeline, my calendar–all of it.

Now that I’ve re-established my facts, I’ll probably find it in the couch cushions or some such place.

But I digress.

It’s dangerous for ADD researchers (squirrel!) to take off on a research binge. It can lead you to some really strange places. (My good friend, Pedro, knows this well. In fact, he calls it a journey into a wiki black hole as one topic leads to another and another…)

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Today as I was trying to figure out whether to dock my book’s steamboat at Clarksville or Port Royal, Tennessee,  I learned that Port Royal is a ghost town.

No, seriously, a real ghost town. I mean, yeah, it is a ghost town in that there’s not a town there anymore, but there’s also some sort of terrifying entity that actually poisoned someone there in 1820 and is still hanging around.

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You can read about the Bell Witch here. (Don’t get sucked into the black hole!)

And more about Port Royal here.

Far be it from me to keep the same fascinating experiences I’ve been through today from my readers.

So what do you think? Do you believe in ghosts? I have a theory about them that has to do with demonic activity. What say you?

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Tweet this: Do you believe in ghosts?

What do you want to read about?

I truly want to create a blog that is fun, entertaining and useful. We are all short on time, aren’t we? The last thing we need to do is waste our time reading blogs that we don’t connect with. I deeply desire to connect with you, Dear Reader.

Would you be so kind as to fill out this survey? I’d appreciate it so much! Thanks for your help in making this little ministry on the web the best it can be.

Love,

Karla

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Click to tweetwitter02smallt: Help @KarlaAkins create the best blog possible!

Just call me a gambler

In doing research for my book I’ve had to learn some things I’ve never had an interest in. One of those things is gambling.

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Did you know that poker wasn’t the biggest game of the North American West in the 1800s? We’ve seen countless westerns with saloons full of poker players. But it wasn’t poker that was popular. Instead, it was a super easy game called Faro, also called “Bucking the Tiger.” Some of the great players include Soapy Smith, Doc Holliday, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp.

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The Bengal Tiger was a symbol for the game. All a proprietor had to do was hang a picture of a Bengal Tiger in his window to let people know a game was up.

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Faro was more popular than poker because it was faster and easier to learn. On the steamboats, it was Faro that was played the most because those running the game could make a lot more money in a shorter amount of time.  (And most of the time, the game runners were cheaters.)

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Websites on Faro/Bucking the Tiger:

Wikipedia

Legends of America

Bucking the Tiger

Here’s a video that teaches how to play the game:

I think Faro would make a great board game for fun and I wish they’d make one. Maybe I’ll have to do that myself. I’m not much for games but I work with a lot of young folks who love them.

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Tweet this: Writing is teaching me to gamble!

 

 

What’s your favorite card game?

Who knows who you may inspire!

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Columbus’ notes in a copy of Marco Polo’s book (click pic to enlarge).

It’s really amazing how things work out in history.

As I was doing research for my book about Marco Polo, I learned that Columbus read Polo’s book and it may have spurred him on to look for the far east himself.

Is that cool or what?

What if Marco Polo had never written about his travels? (Okay, so he didn’t actually write it himself, he had a ghost writer, Rustichello, from Pisa.)

What do you think Columbus was thinking when he read about such travels?

I don’t know, of course, and we can only speculate. But it reinforces why writing history is important to me. We must pass on these stories so they won’t be forgotten. Who knows who or what they may inspire!

One of my favorite resources for writing history is a book entitled, Annals of the World by John Usher. It’s a $50.00 book in hardback (that’s the copy I have) but right now it’s on sale on kindle for only $9.99! A STEAL if you want to write about ancient history and need to know what was going on and when. It takes you all the way through Biblical history using scriptures. It’s not an in-depth book, but more of a timeline type of book. I absolutely love my copy.

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Click to Tweet: We must pass on these stories so they won’t be forgotten. Who knows who or what they may inspire!

What are some of your favorite reference books?

Marco! (Polo!)

One of my current works in progress is an interactive ebook for middle grades: Marco Polo.

This dude was an amazing explorer and I’m finding it a challenge on how to squeeze all his amazing adventures into one 35,000 word (or so) volume.

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The stage I’m at right now is the outline stage.

Then will come the tons and tons of research to insert links into the text.

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And then I will finally get to write the story.

But even as I write it, I’ll be researching as I go. Learning interesting little details. It’s the details that fascinate me. Such as the food, the customs, the attire.

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What about history fascinates you the most?

Q is for Quadroon Ball

My current work in progress, River Moon Don’t Cry is about a young Melungeon girl who is taken aboard a sex-trafficking steamboat in 1838 for the purpose of being sold to the highest bidder at a Quadroon ball in New Orleans.  Those bidding are wealthy plantation owners in search of a plaçage, a “comfort woman” or “concubine.”

The term placage comes from the French placer meaning “to place with.” These women were not legal wives but their relationships were recognized as mariages de la main gauche, “left handed marriages.”

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The word quadroon refers to people of color with one white parent and one half-white parent. These balls encouraged women of mixed race to form liaisons with a system of concubinage. Quadroons were often highly educated and socially refined women who were unable to find black men of their own social status.

The Quadroon Balls began in earnest in 1805 when a man named Albert Tessier rented a dance hall where he held elaborate, elegant dances twice a week for quadroon women and white men only. At the time, race mixing was against the law in New Orleans, but white men would steal away from their white balls to mingle with the quadroons.

F190345-octoroon-webThe Octoroon or Life in Louisiana c. 1861

However, it wasn’t unknown for a poorer white girl to be sent to the Americas from Europe for the express purpose of being a “comfort woman.”

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A quadroon’s mother usually negotiated with the “sugar daddy” plantation owner for the price of her daughter, but it wasn’t unknown for women of color to be sold by other owners for a generous price.

A book I highly recommend on the subject is The Strange History of the American Quadroon.

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A fairly decent movie regarding Quadroon Balls is The Courage To Love starring Vanessa Williams.

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Sex trafficking is as old as time and unfortunately it continues today. The sex trafficking of children is particularly heinous. Please do your part to help educate others of these horrific crimes against humanity. And visit Operation Underground Railroad to learn more.


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.